Up for Debate: Are Tennessee teachers treated fairly?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:05pm

Do you believe Tennessee teachers are underpaid? Should their unions be more or less limited by state law? What else could be done to improve education?

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Up for Debate

38 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 11/16/11 at 6:32

We only know the amount of pay for beginning teachers. Never is there an
average for teachers with 5, 10, 15 years experience properly given, although
it could certainly be obtained rather easily. Benefit packages while both
working and retired seems to be just as allusive information to taxpayers
as well.
With only the info that the TEA and county officials want us to know
this are questions just as impossible to answer as "when will the next
flood arrive"! If answers appear, it will come from those with strictly
self interest financially expressed!

By: dargent7 on 11/16/11 at 6:47

All teachers, K-12, are a societies life line to the future.
Sure, there are a few who have sex with their students, get caught, and tarnishes the entire system.
But, 99% are public servants who absolutely care about the students.
I cannot think of a better group of people.
Give them all raises.
And the kids who bring loaded guns to school, throw them out forever.

By: serr8d on 11/16/11 at 7:36

Strike the Unions, strike tenure; make teachers accountable for their students' failures or successes.

The only way that'll work is to restore the application of discipline in the schools: moral discipline first, a requirement for mental discipline.

The application of necessary discipline in our PUBLIC schools is now unfeasible (and illegal).

Discipline needs to start at home; that's impossible because most PARENTS are morally bankrupt and unable to instill any discipline in their kids (or themselves); they then send the confuzzled brats to school unprepared for the mental discipline learning requires; because many of these childish, Liberal, sons-of-the-'60's parents can't understand discipline because they don't have any personal discipline. But they do have delusional expectations of handouts from Government: GIMME!.

Thus you see what America has become: a failshit nation imagined by LeftLibProgg Democrats.

Even when 'Republicans' win, there continues to be a shift to Left, because most of these 'Republicans' aren't Conservatives (Bush, McCain, Haslam, Alexander, Corker &c.).

We are truly 'losing more slowly but inexorably' when RINOs are in Government.

By: serr8d on 11/16/11 at 7:38

Oh, nice to see how Zuccotti Park cleans up, eh?


Someone must've sent Mayor Bloomberg a picture of balls.

By: global_citizen on 11/16/11 at 7:43

I have worked in the school system, so I've been disabused of the lofty idealism that teachers are dedicated public servants who sacrifice to help children.

No, dargent, 99% is a joke. Make that about 20-30% and I'd say you're accurate. Remember, this is from personal experience working with teachers and the public school system.

I've heard one teacher say he chose to be a teacher for three reasons: June, July, and August. There's a real dedicated servant for you.

Most teachers in Nashville, except those just starting, earn a salary above the median income for Tennessee. The top pay is nearly $70,000 and the benefits are more generous than anything in the private sector. Plus they get paid the equivalent of a year's salary but only have to work 9.5 months (despite how they'll twist that rhetorically to say they're only paid for those 9.5 months).

People who believe the mantra of "underpaid teachers" have been bamboozled.

By: Moonglow1 on 11/16/11 at 7:44

Moonglow1: Society should value good teachers. Unfortunately they have become targets of the tea nut agenda. Why is it OK for NES employees to be paid 350K? Or the CEO of a poorly performing company to be paid $40 million.

The rich kids are in school at Harpeth Hall or Montgomery Bell leaving the poorest kids in public schools. I am appalled to hear that teachers often have to pay for supplies.

Until we raise the living standards for all people instead of for only for the 1 percent, schools will continue to churn out non performing students. Schools reflect society at large. If gangsters bring guns to school then haul them off to jail. Teach them values but do not blame teachers for the problematic society of today.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 7:49


I know its unusual, but I agree with you one the teacher's issue. Teachers are public servants and their students are our nation's future.

I don't know why anyone would want to become a teach today except for love of children.
Considering the majority of the students of today's society, teachers deserve more pay to be in their classroom with them.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 7:54


I must disagree with you on teachers being held accountable to the students failures. Teachers can only teach, the students must learn by desire, not force.

By: Moonglow1 on 11/16/11 at 8:01

Moonglow1: to those who believe all private sector employees work so much harder than those in the public sector, you a very wrong. Additionally our private sector cannot even compete in the global economy. This is because many CEOs make the same inflated salary whether they perform or not. Values are different at the top. The rank and file have silly performance reviews. I do not appreciate the cost of a product jacked up to reflect over inflated CEO pay and PAC money going to support idiots like Perry, Cain and the rest of the goons. Yes these are your job creators. Collectively companies are sitting on billions in cash. Why? No demand and hence no jobs. The middle class can no longer" subsidize"the wealthy.

By: sidneyames on 11/16/11 at 8:14

: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 7:54
I must disagree with you on teachers being held accountable to the students failures. Teachers can only teach, the students must learn by desire, not force.

And Yogi, add to that the home environment. Most people do not encourage their children to learn. It is a sad truth. Many children are not even wanted by their parents today; they are throw away kids. So TEACHERS should not be held accountable for the students lack of willingness to study hard and learn.

By: BenDover on 11/16/11 at 8:28

Their pay is in no way indexed to their results. Mediocrity is the best you can hope for in such a flawed system.

By: dargent7 on 11/16/11 at 8:45

Only 20-30% of our Nation's teachers are competaent and truly like to teach?
You need a college degree with a Secondary Education emphasis.
It's a direct goal that's not easy to attain.
All H.S. coaches in every sport, are teachers.
My Geometry teacher was the basketball coach, my Physics teacher was the fooball coach, my Chemistry teacher was an as*hole, but that's besides the point.

By: dargent7 on 11/16/11 at 9:03

As an aside, I couldn't IMAGINE teaching today's youth.
Single parent households, Dad's in prison, kids are having sex at age 12, texting and on the cell phone 24 hours a day.....attention spans of gnats.
As I said before what family do you know of that has World Book on the shelf?
When I grew up (in a poor black neighborhood in Detroit), having an encyclopdeia on the shelf was prestigious.
Now, it's how big is the computer monitor and is your cell phone an Android Razor or Apple iPhone 4G-S.
How times have changed.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 9:47

Good morning, Nashville.

Debate question of the day: "Do you believe Tennessee teachers are underpaid?"

To answer that question, I went to US Dept.of Labor statistical data sources. Here's what I found out:


Data for TN: Occupational area: Education, Training, and Library Occupations - Annual Mean Salary $41,550.

Data for USA: Occupational area: Education, Training, and Library Occupations - Annual Mean Salary $50,440.

Based on this data, one can see that teachers in TN make nearly 20% less than the national average.

In education, you get what you pay for.

Collective bargaining is a good idea for every occupation, IMO. TN teachers need to be paid more, if you want to attract better teachers and improve test scores.

By: Captain Nemo on 11/16/11 at 9:52

We live in a society that does not want to pay taxes, let alone pay the teacher any thing remotely close to what they worth.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 10:23

If a teacher in TN earns about $9,000 per year less in wages than the national mean wage earner, then it follows that, over a 25 career, a teacher in TN can expect to earn about $225,000 less in total career wages.

This wage deficit is further magnified by way of lower state retirement (pension) benefits and reduced federal SS benefits.

If one considers the difficulties of teaching in states with historically low performance scores and adds in the reduced teacher incentives in these states, then one should not be surprised to see these results.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 10:27

Posting from my suite at the Sagamore. Resort..on a very quiet and calm Lake George. The view is incredible....NY has been blessed and I'm a lucky man. As they say....."Wish you were here."

By: BenDover on 11/16/11 at 10:45

Is that adjusted for cost of living, loner? Quality of living?

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 11:10

It looks like it has taken our nation just a little over two and a quarter centuries to reach our current position. Is it truly what our founders wanted us to inherit?

That's only nine descendent eras. What will it be when we reach the "dozen" mark?

By: dargent7 on 11/16/11 at 11:32

L'ner: great stats. You're saying $41,500. for starting teachers is $9,000. BELOW the median National average for salaried employees?
I'm applying for a position with the Police Dept. as a grief counselor. Starting pay: $45,000. I think that's great. +++ Benefits.
Course, added benefits are you get your parking tickets torn up, Judges side with you in domestic violence cases, and get to ride in neat Police cars and get a gun to shoot people.
Where do you live again, "yogi"?

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 11:35

Here's the URL for the national data and a breakdown by type of educator:

I compared NY and TN:

Data for NY: Occupational area: Education, Training, and Library Occupations - Annual Mean Salary $59,710


That's about $20,000 per year difference in wages. Teachers in TN earn about 66% of what NY teachers make annually....over a 25 year career, that's huge.

I believe that this is raw data, Ben, not adjusted for cost of living & quality of living....those are subjective, not objective factors, right?

By: bfra on 11/16/11 at 11:40

Nemo - IMO, people wouldn't object to taxes so much, if the taxes were used for what they should be used for. Crooked politicians & misuse of taxes have people leery and very untrusting, with good reason.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 11:44

That's right, Darge....TN pays about 9K less than the national mean and NY pays about 9K above the national mean....for wage earners within this group.

Grief counselor? Your positive, uplifting and inspiring bar-side manner should count for something, right? Use me for a reference....on second thought...you don't know no Loner character....the guy's persona non grata.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 11:45

Just ask your "buddy" dumba.., dargent7. I'm sure he can give your directions to my home. But be warned, have your funeral pre-payed before you come for said purpose. And I must advise you, I never shoot to wound. You ain't gonna sue me for plastering your behind.

By: bfra on 11/16/11 at 11:50

yogi - If your aim isn't any better than your dumb madeup theories, d7 would be safe!

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 11:53

"Not to change the subject", dargent7,

But what do you and your co-posters think of Barry sending our Marines to Australia to set up bases?

And is it "normal" for the American President to call the Australian Prime Minister by her given name "Julia" instead of Madam Prime Minister? Especially when she refers to him as President Obama?

Is the American President (in name only) superior to the Australian Prime Minister? Me thinks not politically.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 12:00

Activating Ignore-a-troll function....standing by for cogent dialog.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 12:07

You want to be standing by him... in case I miss him, bfra? I can always shoot again. And I believe I can guarantee you, as close as you would be, I couldn't miss.

If I could shoot a rabbit with a 22, I surely couldn't miss y'all with a 30-06.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 12:11

I wonder if Serr8d's absence on Friday is related to this incident:


Here's a snippet:

"The Park Police, who have issued a warrant for Mr. Ortega’s arrest, also said he had a tattoo with the word “Israel” on his neck, and published photos with other details of his appearance including a heavy beard and other tattoos."

Is Serr8d actually Mr. Ortega? His love for Israel and guns is well known...his posted contempt for "illegal aliens" could be a clever disguise, no?

We know that he hates the Obama family....hmmmm.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 12:28

If that isn't meant to be a facetious comment, Loner, you are continuing to display your ignorance of the Oval Office.

I believe serr8d is more like me on this matter. I don't hate the family, but I sure hate the usurper of office.

And your obvious tell-tell facts you believe the man is in that office legally proves your ignorance to the Constitution and the basic laws of our nation.

How about going back to school.

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 12:36

They probable won't publish me comment on the NYT comment board for that article, so I'm posting it here:

The suspect has the word "Israel" tattooed on his neck, according to the police.

Is this incident an example of domestic Zionist terror?

Certainly the media would be calling this domestic Islamic terror, if the word "Palestine" was tattooed on the suspect's neck.

Let's be fair and balanced here.

Maybe the NYT censors are just mulling it over?

By: Loner on 11/16/11 at 12:40

Sorry about my typos...using an unfamiliar lap top...in need of meds?

S/H/B: "They probably won't publish my comment on the NYT comment board for that article, so I'm posting it here:"

Mea culpa.

By: bfra on 11/16/11 at 1:11

Somebody tell Andy to send Barney to Smith Co. There is a kook threatening people with a 30-06. Sounds like a Barney situation, for sure!

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 1:58

Heck bfra, me 'n Barneys' knowed each uther fer yares. Heck, he could come on in fer 'nutha cupa coffee. We'd have a good argument (agreement to you) over yore crap.

By: BigPapa on 11/16/11 at 3:38

So should teachers make $150,000 a year? Maybe $300,00? The fact is this, teaching isn't that hard or difficult nor does it require very specialized knowledge. These are the things that get you paid big money in the USA.

Most people are very very replaceable and they don't earn much, those that do have very specialized, sought after skills make bank. It's really THAT complicated.

By: pswindle on 11/16/11 at 6:18

I watched the same news report with President Obama and PM from Australia, and she called him Barack first. Clean out your ears. This is a wonderful idea for America to get in Australia first.

Teachers are not paid enough, period. Why do you think that most have to have a second job?

By: artsmart on 11/16/11 at 7:17

dargent7, median does not mean starting. Metro teachers make no where near 41,000
as a starting salary. If you are offended by the 41,000, check the salaries on Bransford.
Also check their results and ask what you are paying for.

By: yogiman on 11/16/11 at 8:25


I'm sure we have different ears and hearing capacity. We must have viewed different shows. I listened to the one I saw twice to make sure I heard what he said (I'm no Barry Soetoro fan, ya know). I never heard her call him Barack. And I also never heard him mention her as Prime Minister.